In a highly dynamic and competitive industry like manufacturing, embracing technological innovations like AI has become essential to survive, and is the only way forward.
According to TrendForce, the global smart manufacturing market will increase to over $320 billion by 2020. By turning information into insights, and insights into actionable results, AI is completely transforming the manufacturing sector: from intelligent machines, industrial robots, smart energy management, and automated processes, AI is poised to bring down labor costs, improve product quality, minimise downtimes, and increase production speed.
Create Exceptional Value
AI is enabling manufacturers to create exceptional enterprise value and transform business thereby significantly impacting the way the products are manufactured, supplied, and delivered.
According to a Deloitte survey, 83% of AI adopters have achieved either moderate (53%) or substantial (30%) benefits.
Here are the top five benefits manufacturing companies can achieve by embracing AI in their factory settings:
- Intelligent Data Analysis
To achieve success, manufacturers must constantly create new forms of knowledge, infuse them into existing operational systems, and replace outdated technology with new products. AI offers the right tools for manufacturers to consolidate data from multiple sources, turn it into insights, and make informed decisions. By uncovering valuable information from large amounts of unstructured data, manufacturers can delve deeper, get more accurate results, adapt to changing market conditions, and boost performance across production, packaging, warehousing, and transportation. IDC estimates that by the end of 2020, one-third of all manufacturing supply chains will be using analytics-driven cognitive capabilities, thus increasing cost efficiency by 10% and service performance by 5%.
- Efficient Processes
AI on the shop floor has the capability to improve the efficiency of processes. Better monitoring and adaptive control can aid in discovering defects, automating workflows, optimising production systems, and improving the efficiency of the entire factory. AI can be used to find defects in equipment way beyond human vision and ensure precise quality analysis. AI also helps discover meaningful patterns, making factory robots more capable and better able to interact with. Did you know? According to the International Federation of Robotics, the number of operational industrial robots installed in factories will grow to 2.6 million by 2019!
- Predictive Demand
One of the most beneficial uses of AI is to accurately predict demand, much before production. AI algorithms can perceive patterns of demand for products across various geographic markets, customer segments, and seasons and make better decisions around raw material sourcing, human staffing, inventory, and maintenance. By having accurate insight into the demand for a product, manufacturers can optimise their production processes and supply chain networks in real-time.
- Preventive Maintenance
AI also finds great use in preventive maintenance; with digital twins and sensors tracking operating conditions and performance of factory equipment, manufacturers can spot anomalies in systems, predict breakdowns and malfunctions, and take timely pre-emptive actions. These sensors can not only be embedded in factory equipment, but also at supplier facilities, distributor locations or retail outlets to monitor product-quality issues. By conducting real-time monitoring and analysis of the entire process, manufacturers can assess the health of machines, determine when repairs are needed, and drastically reduce downtime.
- Safer Workplace
The purview of AI is not just limited to the improving manufacturing outcomes but also in making the workplace safer. AI can be used to supervise factory operations and avoid disruptions. In highly dangerous factory environments, AI-driven smart, self-driving forklifts, and conveyors can move materials and finished goods around and ensure worker safety. Also, by providing a real-time view of factory operations, AI-driven systems can help in predicting mishaps and responding to emergencies swiftly.
In the light of modern technological innovations, industrial growth takes on a whole new meaning. AI harbors great potential for the manufacturing sector – not just to improve productivity in the industrial process but also to push the industry to the next level of profit.
As AI sweeps the manufacturing sector, intelligent systems and networks are increasingly being used to enhance industrial production processes. By addressing critical challenges like inefficient production line design, inability to manage demand, and rising production costs, AI is helping manufacturers improve quality, control shorten design cycles, remove supply-chain bottlenecks, reduce materials waste, and improve production yields. With high levels of automation, manufacturers are able to efficiently oversee production processes and respond in almost real-time conditions. With global spending on AI expected to reach a whopping $57.6 billion by 2021, AI is serving as an engine of industrial growth. We can say – AI and manufacturing are truly made for each other!